Meet the Interns on Team Noise 

Welcome to this week’s installment of Meet the Interns. Today we feature Team Noise whose job it is to work with noise … literally. Team Noise is on the EchoNet project. EchoNet is an AI-powered tool that, given a recording, will determine where a sound came from and send a drone to take pictures of the sound source’s location. The solution has various use cases, including search and rescue and battlefield operations.

First up, we have Calvin Nguyen. Welcome, Calvin. Tell us a little about your educational path. 

I primarily attend George Mason University, but I studied internationally in South Korea at Yonsei University for a semester from August 2022 to December 2022. I am a fourth year senior at George Mason now, and my major is mechanical engineering.

Interesting! Thank you. Now turning to the project, what part does Team Noise play in developing EchoNet? 

Our contribution to the project is isolating and enhancing a specific sound that can be recorded. From there, we will also be suppressing the background noise to make our targeted noise as crisp and as clean as possible. We then will relay this information back to Team Model where they will classify the type of noise we are targeting.

Sounds like your team is coordinating with other teams, then. How is that working so far? 

It is going great. I worked with Octo last summer, and the hospitality and teamwork that is shown within this company compares to no other. We work hard, and we also play hard. Octo makes sure that we have fun while we work, with lots of team bonding opportunities and overall making me feel like I’m within a community, not just working. It’s a big part of what is making this internship so successful.

You sound like someone who values teamwork and community. How does that play into your career goals? 

I see myself hopefully working within an innovative field in emerging technologies, such that I can look back at my projects and feel pride in what I contributed to history and to my legacy as being an Asian American. Within 10 years, I hope to live a happy life with a loving family and enjoy where I work. I hope that place is Octo—because right now, every day, I wake up and look forward to seeing what our team can come up with to further cement ourselves within history.

Last question. What do you ultimately want to be known for? 

I want to be known for innovation in emerging technologies. With how fast technology is advancing and how modern our society is, I would love to play a part in this big pond of ideas that can one day reach into the everyday lives of mankind. With AI becoming so advanced these days, I am starting to focus all my energy in this field to see what can be invented. I want to see firsthand the potential of AI within society.

Thank you, Calvin. Now we turn to Kabir Menghrajani. Kabir, tell use a little about your education.  

I attend the University of Virginia. I am in the second year of my master’s program in computer science.

 How would you describe the work Team Noise is doing?  

The goal of the EchoNet project is to gather critical information about the origin of noises like a gunshot based on its sound. Team Noise is responsible for preprocessing the audio to get the best results.

And why Octo for this internship?   

Octo is an amazing company that employs cutting-edge technologies to solve many problems. The products developed at Octo enable its customers to achieve better results. I like the fact that Octo does important work, and I am enjoying the opportunity to learn how we develop new and innovative solutions.

Thank you for your insights into Octo and the project. Now let’s focus on your career. In your field, what do you want to be known for?  

I enjoy gathering a vast breadth of knowledge across the many diverse fields of computer science, and I would like to be able to “do it all.” I want to be known for reliably and efficiently supporting my team in any way I can, through successfully completing my own tasks as well as assisting my teammates.

Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years? 

With the current trajectory of machine learning and artificial intelligence, in five years I can see myself developing AI solutions that improve people’s lives, possibly at an innovative and ambitious startup. In 10 years, I hope to have a more stable position in a well-established company where I can have more influence over the projects we work on.

We appreciate you sharing your goals and aspirations, Kabir. Best of luck. Now on to Pete Downey and Sejal Gupta. Pete, let’s start with you. What school do you attend, what year are you in, and what is your major?  

I go to Virginia Tech. I am a rising sophomore majoring in computer engineering, and I am minoring in physics and quantum information science and engineering.

Excellent and ambitious! How about you, Sejal?

I also attend Virginia Tech. I’m a rising junior majoring in math and computational modeling and data analytics.

Wow, more ambitious interns here. Okay, how would you both describe the work Team Noise is doing? Let’s start with Sejal.  

Our goal is to process raw input data so that the signal components that carry identifying information are maximized, while all other components are dampened, so that the model has a high degree of accuracy and thus reliability.

Pete, what part do you play? 

Pretty similar. My job is to help de-noise bullet audio so that information about the gunshot or sound can be more easily extracted from that audio.

Thank you, both. What drew you to Octo, Pete?  

I really enjoy working on algorithm-heavy coding projects. Octo’s EchoNet project provides me a great opportunity to do that.

How about you, Sejal? 

I’ve studied inverse problems in my major and for research in school for about a year now, and this project requires me to merge the theory with other skills I’ve learned in class, such as high-performance computing. I’m grateful for an opportunity to apply my skills to a project that will make an impact.

Thank you both for that. To close, tell us where you see yourselves in the next decade. Pete? 

I want to be known as a hard worker and a good programmer. My dream job is to create/program quantum computers. A decade from now, I hope to be doing that.

And you, Sejal? 

I want to be known as someone who likes math and finds novel ways of applying it. In the next five years, I see myself continuing my education and becoming specialized in a field within applied math. In 10 years, I would like to be working in an R&D position applying what I know with a team of people who have specializations in other areas of math, stats, and computer science.

Octo is proud to support our interns as they learn and grow into their careers and futures. Do you have a passion for innovation and learning? Are you driven by missions that impact the public? Octo, an IBM company, has openings for technologists and support professionals at every career stage. Learn about opportunities now by visiting our Careers page.